Why This Matters

  • CHOOSE FROM 50+ CAREER PATHS WITH A BSN


    Nurses with a BSN have expanded career options, including direct patient care in more than 30 clinical specialties and leadership positions. Alternative career paths include nurse educators, health informatics, and case management.

  • THE UNITED STATES NEEDS 221,900 MORE NURSES BY 2029


    Projected employment growth for registered nurses is 7% through 2029, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. This is the minimum number of nurses needed to replace those who retire.

  • EARN $10,000 MORE ANNUALLY THAN THE U.S. NATIONAL AVERAGE


    Not including sign-on bonuses or on-call and shift differentials, nurses with a BSN enjoy a median salary of $73,300, as of 2019. You also have greater negotiating power to command a higher starting salary.

Our Research

As the gateway to advanced degrees in nursing, such as Doctor of Nursing Practice, and heavily based in science, this degree awards a Bachelor of Science. RN to BSN programs are offered online and in-person; however, clinical portions of this degree must be completed in person.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing (ACEN) are the two primary accrediting bodies of RN to BSN programs. This list also includes programs that are regionally accredited. Both regional and national accreditations are important factors when choosing an RN to BSN program because they’re strong indicators of quality.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best RN to BSN program are affordable, respected, and flexible.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 64 hours to write this article
  • 162 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 272 education programs we compared

The Top 50 RN to BSN Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

The RN to BSN degree program differs from traditional nursing programs in that it fast-tracks RNs who have earned an Associate Degree in Nursing through the bachelor’s degree program. Registered nurses who are practicing with an ADN can achieve a BSN with fewer credit hours and, often, greater flexibility.

If you’re interested in an RN to BSN program, you should research the program to ensure it’s accredited by either the CCNE or the ACEN. Nationally accredited programs offer graduates greater flexibility in career choices, particularly if you’re interested in becoming a traveling nurse.

The job outlook for graduates of an RN to BSN program is positive because the demand for qualified nurses is expected to increase through 2029. Nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing command higher starting salaries and are sought after by top employers, including hospitals, medical groups, insurance companies, and government organizations.

Registered nurses must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the industry’s standard test for practical nursing knowledge, which is required for licensure. If you’re already licensed as an RN, you need to keep your license current through the completion of continuing education credits, even if you’re studying for your BSN. Check with your state’s board of nursing for specific completion timelines.

What’s Next?

When researching RN to BSN programs, answer the following questions:

  • Am I eligible for this program? To be eligible for an RN to BSN degree program, you must be an RN with a two-year nursing degree. Check with each program to determine if an active RN license is required for admission.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? A Bachelor of Science in Nursing requires completion of 120 credit hours or sometimes more. RNs who hold an Associate Degree in Nursing can typically transfer all 60 credits earned to the BSN program, leaving only 60 credit hours of upper-level undergraduate coursework to complete.

As you review RN to BSN programs, note admission deadlines and requirements. RN to BSN degree programs are in high demand and often place a limit on the number of new students admitted each year. Apply as early as possible to secure the best chances of acceptance.

Financing your BSN is an important consideration as well. Because of increased demand for qualified, bachelor-level nurses, financial aid is available from a variety of sources. In addition to completing the FAFSA, speak with a financial aid representative at your chosen college to inquire about available regional, local, and school-specific nursing scholarships and grants.